Tom's Cheese #3 -- Feta #1

Started by Tom Turophile, March 27, 2010, 03:45:31 PM

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Tom Turophile

Now that I have lipase, I am going to attempt feta.

One question for the experienced people, though -- I read that I need to age it for 4-5 days; one recipe (Caroll's) says to age it in the fridge (which is 42 degrees) and the one here says at 48.  Since my cheese cave is not currently operational, will it matter much if I use the fridge?

One other alternative is to put it in my garage, as temperatures right now are ranging from high 30s to mid 60s outside.


Hi Tom;
I had problems with feta melting in the brine until I discovered the recipe from Fias Co Farm. ( That recipe calls for hanging the cheese in cheesecloth for 24 hours, then letting it set at room temp for 2-3 days before brining. I think your garage would be fine. I also save whey for making my brine.


I've had some good success with feta lately -- I let it hang for 6-8 hours.   I turn it once in the middle of hanging to get a better shape.   I cut it into cubes and salt it -- letting it sit on the counter in my kitchen for 1-2 days depending on temp.   I skip brining and marinade it in some flavored olive/canola oil blend in my fridge for 3days.  Garlic, herbs, etc.   It keeps for weeks -- unless I get company any they eat it all!!

Tom Turophile

So it sounds like there are quite a few ways to do...I guess it will just take some experimenting.

Tom Turophile

Using Ricki Carroll's recipe from pg 185 -- it calls for goat's milk, but cow's milk can be used if adding lipase.

1 US gallon cow's milk, Whole Foods, homogenized, pasteurized, "expires" 4/3/10
direct-set mesophilic starter

1) Added ~1/4 tsp "strong" lipase powder to distilled water, allowed to ripen for 20 minutes.
2) Added milk, lipase dilution to pot.  Sat for 20 minutes because I had to run out to get a new thermometer suddenly.   Grr.
3) Heated to 86 F.  Stirred in one pack of meso starter, put pot to the side for 1 hour.
4) Added 1/2 tablet rennet, diluted in 1/4 cup distilled water.  Sitting at 88 F for 1 hour (no heating required, surprisingly).  You can definitely smell the lipase.
5) Good clean break; cut into 1/2 inch cubes.  Felt soft, but not much whey coming out.
6) Let sit for 10 minutes.
7) Stir gently for a boring 20 minutes.  Final temp at 82 F.
8 ) Curds draining.  Weight, including cheesecloth, is 2 lbs 9 oz (41 oz).  Sounds like a lot!  Off to drain for four hours.  Curds have a lighter flavor than I expected.
9) Made a 12.5% brine with 40 oz whey and 5/8 cup pickling salt.
10) Cut cheese into 1/2 cubes 3 hrs 45 minutes later and put in brine.

So far, I think it is successful.  It cut easily, and the brine should firm it up.  The flavor seems there, but it certainly needs the salt.


Sounds very good, Tom. That's almost exactly as I make feta. I cut a bit smaller (1cm cubes) and let hang for 24 hrs before cut it and put into brine. Guess you'll get soft not crumbly feta. Almost no  sourness perhaps. But it's up to your taste :)

Tom Turophile

5 days later, I'm having two problems.

1) The cubes are starting to melt.  I've added some CaCL -- I hope it isn't too late to acidify the whey brine
2) It's tough to say, since it is melting a bit, but it is SALTY.

I should've let it hang some more, I believe.  I was going for the cubed feta, and not the crumbly.


The combination of salt (Na) + Kasein causes to the cheese to be soft and slimy. Ading CaCl should overcome this issue. To raise acidity add vinegar.
Have a recipe for brine I use for Feta and others:

1 liter water
200 gr salt
1 lacking ts of CaCl flakes
3-4 Tbs of vinegar.

This should solve your problem.


I make feta by 30 l of milk batches. Each 30 l portion of milk  yields about 4.5 kg of cheese after 24 hrs hanging. Than i cut the cheese into 8 pieces and put into saturated water solution of NaCl. No vinegar or CaCl. After salting in brine for 20 hrs i store feta in 15% brine or marinade in oil with herbs. Never had an issue of cheese dissolving.
Ah! one more difference, i use my home made clabber culture instead of DVI culture.
And pH at draining 6.1 - 6.2 that could help?

Tom Turophile

I've called quits on this one.  I think I need to let it drain for longer next time.

But I do need to work on a proper brine, still.  Is there a way to measure salinity other than beforehand, by weight?


This is only my second post after my intro a few weeks ago. :) And I know it is too late for you. But...

Tom, I feel for you. Rikki's feta recipe does not work. Ask me how I know.  ::)

The Fiasco Farm recipe is much better and the curds never melt. Lots of detailed explanation as to why you hang and then age on the counter a few days.


I'm sure you can determine the salinity of brine by using a hydrometer. Sorry, I don't have a procedure off hand, but a hydrometer measures the soluble solids in a liquid, and is more commonly used for brewing. I don't know if you are a brewer or winemaker, and if you're not, you probably don't have one lying around  :P